Tuesday, September 03, 2013

DIY - Bug Hotel

Staying in town for the Labour Day weekend, I decided to do a DIY project once I saw this:
I think every garage has a container like this - filled with bits and pieces of wood.
The DIY Bug Hotel
I was rather weary when I first heard about Bug Hotels. Thinking, 'ya - right, all I'll attract is earwigs'. Then I noticed in a friend's outdoor wood pile. There, tiny beetles and ladybugs were crawling between the piled firewood. I thought, hmmm - this would be a better, more permanent home for such creatures. An area where such bugs would benefit the garden, rather than hiding far away from the plants.
These insect hotels are noted to help attract beneficial insects, such as: Lady Bugs, Lacewings and Solitary Bees. So much of their habitat has been eliminated within urban areas. I hope this brings helpful insects back to the garden, to aid in combating the pesky ones.


First thing, was to decide on what wood was useful and see if I could find enough pieces to create a box.
With the help of a handy dandy fella - the wood was cut to size and laid out before assembling. Thanks, Renzo!
These are the tools you'll need to complete this project. It's your choice on using nails, screws and or glue.

I glued and nailed the wood together. You could easily use screws which would make a stronger built box.
I used 1 1/2 inch nails.

I made sure the frame fit the backing before gluing and nailing it down.

This was the easiest part.
The backing is important, it helps protect the insects from harsh winds and rain.

I compartmentalized some sections, so that you can use varied materials. But this is not necessary. It does however make it easier to assemble the woody bits for insects to creep into. Each segment allows you to cram in material tighter.
Glue each divider to the backing. Mark on the frame where they meet and then make a line on the backing and that way you can secure them easily with nails or screws.
Now, I used 1 to 1 1/2 inch branches of birch, cut down to two inches. Each piece should be as high as the frame depth.  I used a drill bit and drilled holes that went through the entire birch dowel. This is a great overwintering spot for solitary bees and beetles. Cut enough birch dowels to fill an entire compartment. I used about 25 pieces to cover a 10 x 6 inch spot. Make sure they are packed in tight. I also used some cut down pieces of bamboo and branches to wedge in a tighter fit. Whatever material you have, as long as it's natural.
I saved 5cm caliber branches from garden work and cut them down to fit the compartment on the bottom shelf of the hotel. The length should be precise. Once you lay cut stems over each other, they fit snugly when pressed firmly down. Pack them in tightly to overfilling.

I also saved and found peeling bark off of dead wood. This bark is ideal for beetles and Lady Bugs to overwinter in. A firewood pile is great for this. You'll find plenty of hardwood bark that is ideal. **PLEASE DO NOT PEEL BARK OFF LIVING TREES.**

This is not necessary; if the bark, stems and birch dowels are firmly wedged in the hotel. Yet, squirrels and racoons can wreak havoc and destroy your work, so it's best to cover with some chicken or rodent wire. Cut a piece larger than the frame, fold over excess tightly and fasten with staples. Watch for sharp metal ends and tuck under.

Lastly - use eye hooks, as I've used here to fasten it do a fence or to hang from a tree or wall.

Here, it is firmly hanging from a cedar fence, right near a pond and garden. Tucked away from too much exposure and sheltered from heavy rains. An ideal spot for our guests to overwinter.

Would make a great Christmas gift for the avid gardener. It also looks like a piece of art-work - doesn't it? You could jazz it up by adding a little roof, or decorative frame. For now, I am happy with this project and can't wait to see what insects will make it their home!  

 I'd love to see your version of Bug Hotel! What materials did you use?

1 comment:

  1. This is the first I've ever heard of a Bug hotel. I will be very interested to hear next year how successful you are at attracting the right kind of bugs!


Thanks for commenting and viewing my blog! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...